A prototype of the Subaru Levorg – what our WRX Sportswagon is known as in Japan – has been spied testing, and it could be a rumoured, Outback-style variant.

    In photos shared by Twitter users inujin32 and osyamaru120, we can see what appears to be a higher-riding version of Subaru’s wagon with tweaked front-end styling.

    While we can’t see due to the extensive camouflage, there could also be black plastic cladding on the wagon. Curiously, only the WRX sedan gets this at present – despite sitting 5mm lower than the Levorg/WRX wagon.

    According to Japanese outlet Car Research, the new variant could be called the Layback or Levorg Layback per a recent trademark filing.

    The more rugged Levorg/WRX variant was first reported on by Best Car Web.

    It’s reportedly due in Japan in the northern autumn of 2023, so between September and November.

    Ground clearance will reportedly be increased from 140mm to 200mm, the same as the Crosstrek.

    Best Car Web reports the new model is expected to be equipped with a 1.8-litre turbo flat-four, which is the standard engine in the Japanese-market Levorg. This produces 130kW and 300Nm.

    It’s unclear whether Subaru will also offer this ruggedised Levorg with the up-level 202kW/375Nm turbocharged 2.4-litre flat-four, the only engine offered in this vehicle locally, to create a more rally-ready wagon.

    This engine is shared with the WRX sedan, though Subaru only offers the option of a manual transmission with the three-box body style and leaves the wagon solely with a continuously variable transmission.

    The WRX sedan and Sportswagon arrived locally in 2022, with the latter replacing the previous Levorg – though it retains that name in Japan.

    The previous Levorg was offered here with a choice of two turbocharged four-cylinder powertrains: a 1.6-litre with 125kW and 250Nm and a 2.0-litre with 197kW and 350Nm.

    Subaru Australia opted not to bring the second-generation wagon here with the new 1.8-litre turbo, instead repositioning it as a more dedicated performance vehicle and bringing it under the WRX umbrella as a spiritual successor to WRX wagons of yore.

    There’s plenty of precedent for a higher-riding WRX Sportswagon. Subaru has been applying cladding to its wagons and giving them higher rides since the 1990s, to the point where the Liberty-derived Outback supplanted its wagon donor entirely.

    MORE: Everything Subaru WRX

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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